Jack London Awards Presented to Windsor High and Oak Grove Elementary School

Posted by Pamela Van Halsema on May 7, 2012 12:37 PM

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Congratulations to Windsor High School's Vineyard Academy and Oak Grove Elementary School's Primos programs for both receiving the 2012 Jack London Award for Educational Innovation.  Each year this award is granted to one or more programs for their exemplary and innovative contributions to education in a Sonoma County Public School Because of their originality, creativity, and their ability to engage children and the community, these exciting programs deserve public recognition.

This year the honor in the elementary school category goes to the Primos program at Oak Grove Elementary School in the Oak Grove School District in NW Santa Rosa.  Program coordinator Nancy Saylor designed it after a big brother mentorship model, to provide support for kids who are learning English.  The mentors provide a little extra help at school and and a lot of encouragement.  To find mentors, Saylor started out by extending an invitation to some Oak Grove alumni who were enrolled in nearby El Molino High School, Those kids took on the role of primos, our cousins to the younger students. Their time together is characterized as playful and fun, a mix of homework help, games, and social events, all with the goal of helping these kids acquire academic skills and foster a desire in them to succeed.

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The award to a secondary level program goes to Vineyard Academy at Windsor High, an interdisciplinary career track program combining culinary arts training, English, math, science and history. Students at Vineyard Academy see and experience the real world relevancy of these subjects as experience coursework in business building, economics and applied arts. The program works with community collaborations, and is supported by local businesses and organization partnerships, who provide not only resources but mentors for these students. Graduates of Vineyard Academy have a good foundation for building a career path in local tourism, including hospitality, winery and food businesses. Marie Ganister is the culinary instructor coordinating this program, but the strong collaborations include many teachers across the curriculum.

The Jack London Award program is now in its 25th year at Sonoma State University. Recipients of the award this year received a framed award certificate, two hardcover books by Jack London for their school library and a gift certificate for Copperfield's Books to purchase more reading material for their programs.

The Jack London Awards are sponsored by the California Faculty Association, The Sonoma County Educators Council CTA/NEA, The Sonoma County Office of Education, and the Sonoma State University Educational Leadership Institute, which is supported by Lozano Smith Attorneys at Law.